Good Practice: A large project should be cut up into more manageable sub-projects, which only depend on completed sub-projects. The project planning methodology provides a good tool to subdivide major projects into more manageable sub-projects with short-term deliverables.
Each project plan should itself be subdivided into a number of key milestones. This helps to provide continual delivery and makes sure progress is measured regularly. For example, a recent large project involved two separate project plans for different stages of the project, development and implementation. Each plan consisted of around 300+ separate tasks and around 30 key milestones.
In his article 7 Steps to Project Success, Peter Draper suggests it is necessary to break up projects into smaller, independent sub-projects that are more easily manageable. These sub-projects must be:
- Small, that is, less than $1m.
- Fast, that is, takes less than 6 months.
- Compact, that is, fewer than 6 people on the team.
- Focused on key benefits and not just deliverables.
- Going for a ‘big bang’ implementation.
- Not being prepared to take the extra cost of splitting the project into separate stages.
- Underestimating the overall complexity and the interactions between all the separate components.